Aaron Renier

In June, the FCC commission voted 3-2 to roll back regulations on media ownership. Under the new rule, media corporations would be allowed to buy up radio, TV, and newspapers. Prior to the rule, the FCC tried to prevent such monopolies.

Last week, that new rule went into effect. Like firing a starting pistol, many media watchers believe this will set off a mad scramble by corporations like Clear Channel to buy up even more radio and TV stations. Already Clear Channel owns 20 percent of the radio stations in the country, making many worry that media diversity is an endangered concept.

But a group of legislators is doing everything possible to trip up the shopping spree. Three bills are currently working their way through US Congress--each would undo the FCC rule. (For more information, check out mediareform.net)

On Wednesday, Clear Channel/Comcast is hosting a "free" barbecue in Washington Country. A group of activists has extended an invitation to "protest/rally/just plain eat." PB Wed, July 23, 8405 SW Nimbus Ave, Beaverton, 11:30 am-1:30 pm.


Last week, Portland's murals reached a standoff with city hall. On Tuesday, two popular hippie stores on SE Division--Portico and Mirador--were told they would be fined $50 a day if the paintings decorating their buildings were not removed by Thursday. One has a dancing blue water sprite in the foreground; the other shows colorful ribbons.

The murals are in violation of Portland's sign code, which does not allow any "sign" to cover more than 200 square feet on a commercial building. This is the same code that has plagued aerosol "graffiti" art murals at New American Casuals. In May, N.A.C. owner Jason Brown asked hiphop artists to decorate two walls at his store. In response, the city told Brown to remove the graffiti within the month. But even before the deadline arrived--and despite an appeal--the city covered the murals with drab gray paint.

In contrast to Brown's ongoing difficulties, the city has rescinded its threats against Portico and Mirador after an article in The Oregonian prompted residents to call and demand leniency.

Officials at the Bureau of Development Services explained that they considered the painted walls at N.A.C. illicit graffiti, not a sanctioned mural. But, they added, they would investigate further. MARJORIE SKINNER